Suspect faces two charges including child abuse

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FARMINGTON — A Farmington man is accused of child abuse after he claims he accidentally shot his nephew in the foot with a handgun.

James Lang, 50, is accused of a felony count of child abuse and a petty misdemeanor count of negligent use of a deadly weapon, according to the criminal complaint.

Lang allegedly fired his handgun inside his RV and a bullet struck the left foot of his 11-year-old nephew, according to the probable cause statement.

A Farmington Police Department officer was dispatched around 11:13 p.m. on July 15 to San Juan Regional Medical Center following the alleged incident

Lang repeatedly told the officer what he did was stupid, a mistake and stated he was not handling the gun responsibly.

Lang was showing the victim the handgun in an RV when he allegedly pointed the barrel of the handgun toward the floor and pulled the trigger but no projectile came out.

He allegedly pulled the trigger a second time and a bullet struck the victim's foot, according to court documents.

The officer was later told the gun was not pointed at the victim's foot but it was believed the recoil from firing the gun caused Lang to allegedly point it at the victim's foot as he was pulling the trigger, according to the probable cause statement.

When the officer asked Lang why he did not clear the firearm or take safety precautions, Lang replied "it was stupid" and did not have a response for why he did not take safety precautions.

The victim told the officer Lang had taken the gun out after dinner and that he was sitting on the couch when Lang was "messing around" with the gun.

Lang signed a search waiver consent form and the handgun was retrieved from the RV. The officer observed an entry and exit hole of the projectile on a couch cushion.

Lang was released from the San Juan County Adult Detention Center per a court order. His preliminary hearing is set for Wednesday morning in Farmington Magistrate Court.

Joshua Kellogg covers crime, courts and social issues for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4627 or via email at jkellogg@daily-times.com.

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